NFL fans, find yourself on North Carolina map

Can the fan followings of NFL teams be mapped county-by-county by  how frequently the teams are “liked” on Facebook?

If so, then Eastern North Carolina fans heavily favor Baltimore over San Francisco in the Super Bowl, while the rest of the state exhibits mixed loyalties. Location, location…?

When the entire 32-team league is mapped, the Carolina Panthers manage only a modest footprint in North Carolina and barely a toeprint in South Carolina. Their biggest rivals for fan affection: Pittsburgh and Dallas, which will come as news to no one who has observed fan attire when those teams visit Bank of America Stadium. I was surprised to see the state’s long attachment to the Washington Redskins go virtually unrecognized.

But when the map is redrawn to include only the 12 teams that made the playoffs this season, Washington rivals New England as North Carolina fans’ cynosure. Atlanta’s proximity to the state wins it little affection, except in those vacation-home counties contiguous to Georgia.

With the Super Bowl almost here, surely someone is counting “likes” to map which counties prefer guacamole and which salsa….


New NC ECHO Search Brings North Carolina Digital Collections Together

The new NC ECHO statewide search makes it easier than ever for users to find local and state history resources online. Through a single, simple search interface, users can find historic photos, maps, postcards, genealogies, yearbooks, oral histories, and much more. The statewide search was developed by NC LIVE, the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, and the State Library of North Carolina.

NC ECHO searches content freely available online in multiple digital collections. Selected collections from Johnson C. Smith University, UNC-Greensboro, the New Hanover County Public Library, Western Carolina University, East Carolina University, UNC-Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, and the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources are currently available through NC ECHO.

A previous program by the same name was run out of the State Library of North Carolina from 1999-2012, with the intent to identify and digitize local cultural heritage collections. The newly revived NC ECHO program continues with the same spirit, to build connections and improve access to these collections of historic materials. Over the coming year, the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center will continue to work with cultural institutions across North Carolina to add new materials to this statewide search.

The online NC ECHO institutional directory is still available online through the North Carolina State Government Website Archive. Plans are underway to have the directory online again soon through the Department of Cultural Resources’ North Carolina Connecting to Collections website.

Read the press release at NC LIVE for more information.

The unintended consequence of a killer’s execuition

On this day in 1998: By accident, the execution of Ricky Lee Sanderson, 38-year-old murderer,  brings to an end the era of the gas chamber at Central Prison in Raleigh.

Although many states have already replaced gas with the more clinical method of lethal injection, North Carolina will make the change out of concern for workplace safety: Two prison guards had strapped on air tanks and entered the chamber to remove Sanderson’s body when one tripped, knocking loose for a moment the other’s tank.

Footnote: Here, rendered in a still life and on a dinner plate are artists’ depictions of Sanderson’s chosen last meal: a honey bun.


View from Boston: South yes, Southerners no

“In ‘The Poetry of Traveling’ (1838)… Bostonian Anna Marie Wells spoke of the fine scenery in Buncombe County but warned visitors about the crudeness of Southern society. While the views from the mountains filled her soul with the wonder of God’s glory, the local population did not…. She mocked their strange accents and their peculiar attitudes…. A log cabin made her want ‘to smile at its rudeness and insignificance’ until she realized it was a church.”

— From “Souvenirs of the Old South: Northern Tourism and Southern Mythology” by Rebecca Cawood McIntyre (2011)


Black victim, white killer, rare consequences

On this day in 1995: Fourteen years after being convicted of the rape and murder of a N.C. Wesleyan College cheerleader, Kermit Smith is executed by lethal injection at Central Prison in Raleigh.

Smith becomes the first white person in North Carolina — and the second in the nation the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976 — to be executed for killing a black person.


North Carolina news photography exhibit closing soon

Hurricane Hazel photograph
1954 photograph of Hurricane Hazel by Hugh Morton

If you haven’t yet had a chance to visit the North Carolina Collection Gallery’s news photography exhibit, consider this your last call. The exhibit, “Photographic Angles: News Photography in the North Carolina Collection,” will close on Feb. 3, 2013.

The description of the exhibit, from the Gallery’s website:

Events and images: two words destined for each other. Humans have visually documented events for thousands of years. The invention of photography, publicly announced in 1839, was an important milestone in our quest to capture moments in time pictorially. Technological achievements of the late nineteenth century made it possible to reproduce continuous tone images on paper and distribute them to large audiences in newspapers, magazines, and books.

News, at its most basic level, is the reporting of information about events. News photography, then, is the reporting of visual information. News photographs may stand on their own, conveying the immediacy of breaking “spot news,” or they may illustrate news, feature, or editorial articles. To tell those stories visually, photographers use angles — low camera angles, wide-angle lenses, and personal perspectives — to create compelling news photographs.

This exhibit brings together a selection of news photographs from the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives. Not every image shown here made it “to print,” but the photographers made them hoping that they would.

For details on visiting the Gallery, including hours, parking, and directions, see the Gallery’s visitor information page.

And the winner is ….

Although the volume of campaign mailings and posters appears to be as high this year as it was in 2008, there was a falloff in creativity and strong imagery. Nothing compared to the blood hound looking for Elizabeth Dole or the image of Barack Obama in lederhosen. The one mailing that did standout for strong imagery—and expense—was this tri-fold mailer that appeared in the mailboxes of independent voters in the North Carolina House District 63. This contest was for an open seat, vacated when Alice Bordsen, a Democrat, decided not to run for a sixth term. Steve Ross (R), a financial advisor and former Burlington mayor, ran against Patty Philipps (D), an attorney and member of the Mebane City Council. Taxes and jobs were the big issues, but the race got personal, with Rich being accused of using public office to feather his own nest. When Phillips was arrested for DWI a month before the election, her driving record became the subject of several mailings. Interest groups such as the Americans for Prosperity-NC and the North Carolina Chamber funded some mailings, but this one was produced by the Democratic Party of North Carolina. When the votes were tallied on Election Day, the Republican Ross beat Philipps 56.5% to 43.3%–approximately the same margin as Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama in Alamance County.

View from Union blockade: ‘Adventure! Bah!’

“One sailor stationed off Wilmington, North Carolina, explained in his diary how adventurous blockade duty really was:

” ‘I told her [his mother] she could get a fair idea of our ‘adventures’ if she would go on the roof of the house, on a hot summer day, and talk to half a dozen hotel hallboys, who are generally far more intelligent and agreeable than the average “acting officer.” Then descend to the attic and drink some tepid water, full of iron rust. Then go on the roof  again and repeat the “adventurous process” at intervals, until she is tired out and go bed, with every thing shut down tight, so as not to show a light.

” ‘Adventure! Bah! The blockade is the wrong place for it.’ ”

— From “Fateful Lightning: A New History of the the Civil War and Reconstruction” by Allen C. Guelzo (2012)


Working Up the Senior Set

The national debt was much discussed this past election season. Voters were urged to think of the future generations—all those children and grandchildren who will be burden by our fiscal irresponsibility and that of the politicians that we’ve elected. But cute little kids don’t vote, and senior citizens do, so both major parties made appeals to this group. Seniors were told that Mitt Romney “will end guaranteed benefits for Medicare” and that his tax plan “could mean hiking taxes on Social Security benefits.” Meanwhile “Obamacare cut $716 billion from Medicare spending to pay for new entitlements” and will result in “loss of access to doctors and treatments.” Seniors were warned that they face a precarious future of reduced access to doctors, rationing of medical treatments, raised prescription drug costs, higher taxes on Social Security benefits, and victimization by private insurance profiteers. Death panels were not mentioned as they were in 2009, but seniors were given plenty of other things to worry about. You can see the concern on their faces as they appeared in mailings that some North Carolina voters received from the North Carolina Democratic Party (left image) and Americans for Tax Reform (center and right images).